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How Much Does it Cost to Frame a House?

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When it comes to buying a house, there are really only two options: to buy a preexisting home or to build one yourself. While purchasing a home built by someone else might be the easier of the two options, building your own home can be an extremely rewarding process.

How Much Does it Cost to Frame a House?

One of the most difficult elements of that process, however, is determining how much it will cost. For instance, it can be very difficult to determine how much it will cost to frame a house. There are many different variables involved and several different major options, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.


The framing of a house is the wooden structure that is erected before the rest of the building and is the framework upon which the rest of the house is built. There are two major types of frames. It bears noting that in most homes, the frame is built of some kind of wood, not of other building materials such as steel or concrete that are found in larger buildings.


There are two major types of house frames that are used in modern building. The first type is called timber framing, and the second type is called stick framing. Both types have their own advantages, but stick framing is by far the more common of the two. The cost of framing a house depends on which type of frame is used.


There are two main framing methods that are used to frame stick frame houses today. The first, balloon framing, was extremely popular through the 1950s but has fallen out of favor with builders in recent years because of difficulty and increased expense. The other major method of framing a house is known as platform framing. Platform framing is the most common method used today. Timber frame houses, on the other hand, use unique timber framing methods that are wholly different from those used in stick frame houses. Timber framing doesn't use nails. Instead, the wood is joined together using carpentry techniques.


The type of frame and the method both have an influence on the cost of framing, as does the cost of regional labor, the price of the lumber that is used, the complexity of the building design and the size of the house. The cost of framing is generally measured in cost per square foot. It can cost anywhere between $150 and $325 per square foot to frame a timber frame house. Stick frame houses are generally less expensive to frame; the cost is generally between $100 and $200 per square foot.

Expert Insight

Labor often isn't a large percentage of the cost of framing. Instead, the main cost associated with framing a house is the lumber. All of the framing work for one house can often be completed within a week or two, sometimes even faster. The man-hours don't represent a huge cost. Instead, it is simply the cost of the materials that drives the price upwards.